I have to admit, that of all the books of the Bible, I have spent the least amount of time in Ruth. As a guy, I go for the books with all the battles and those which talk less about about love affairs! But in 4 short chapters the book of Ruth brings to light some principles which every believer should not only know, but also implement.
Ruth is a Moabite, a non-jewish woman (this is the only book of the Bible which highlights the life of a non-jew!) following her mother-in-law (Naomi) back to jewish lands. Naomi is bitter, after all, she has lost her husband and both of her sons. But Ruth (her name means friendship), takes care of Naomi and through her efforts provides for the well being of Naomi. Boaz (not the city's most eligible bachelor) sees Ruth and the care she gives Naomi and is moved to help Ruth. In the process he finds that he is related to Naomi. He goes before the city elders declares his intention of redeeming Naomi and Ruth, marries Ruth and they have a soon who would be the grandfather of King David.
*Ruth's name means friend-we should all have a Ruth in our lives as well as be a Ruth to someone else. Being a true friend means we do for someone what they cannot do for themselves. This isn't charity or a social system of care as we know it, it is instead a way to bring hope to those short of hope.
*Ruth and Naomi were sustained by Boaz's adherence to jewish traditional understanding of the OT command concerning the act of gleaning. In short leaving something behind for others to benefit from. Boaz's fields weren't picked clean, but instead some grain was left behind. We have this same opportunity everyday. Leave a bigger tip, pay for a stranger's meal, and possibly most important, leave a Godly legacy our kids and their kids will follow.
* Kinsman Redeemer-Jesus bought us back from slavery. We didn't deserve His grace. But that doesn't mean we should hang our heads in shame, we have a new identity and new family name. We were sinners separated from God by our sinful nature, but now we are Kids of the King, with all the benefits and privileges that accompany this new identity!
God's only requirement? Live like a child of the King!
Ruth is a prophet book of sorts. Written long before Jesus Christ came to redeem humanity, it shows God's plan of redemption, His willingness to publicly address the issue on the cross (as Boaz did at the city gates) and His desire to share the Gospel with everyone.